Saigeon’s Time to Shine
Player development can very rarely be plotted in a linear line. Over the course of a hockey players’ career, they’ll take steps forward, back and sometimes great leaps towards their goal of being a professional player one day.
Hamilton Bulldog centre Brandon Saigeon is confident that he’s proven to the bigwigs GM Steve Staios and Coach Gruden that he will push himself to the limit to improve his game. “After talking to management, they’ve stayed confident in me, and they know that things are going to be different. They have a lot of trust in me, the way I play and my past”. Considering the support systems that Hamilton is providing to their young players, such as access to BioSteel founder Matt Nichol, Saigeon is well positioned to rebound.
Jeff Krushell is a former Toronto Blue Jays and Edmonton Oilers strength and conditioning coach, who now hosts a radio show in Edmonton that focuses on sport performance and athlete development called Krush Performance. He interviewed Yvonne Camus, a Canadian public speaker who focuses on athletic performance and leadership. There was a very striking portion of their conversation that stood out in my mind that applies to Saigeon’s development, and the pressure that all OHL youth have to face.
The main factor in Saigeon’s success this year could very well be his work ethic, and the drive to elevate his game over the summer. Camus zeroed in on two characteristics that correlate with an individual’s ability to achieve success in outperforming their competition. The first was that players need to “practice with the intention of improvement. Leaders look to who’s doing their job with the intention of creating not just results but personal improvement.” Coach Gruden has indicated that there are specific players on the team that he’s going learn to trust because of how they play, and how they train, Saigeon is one of the players that must be at the top of this list.
It was the second characteristic that truly rung the bell when considering Saigeon’s off ice work ethic:
“A relentless commitment of effort. Even with failure, even with adversity, even with setbacks. You see it even after massive success and they let their foot off the gas. When you can see that demonstrated early on, these are indicators of future success.“
Stew Kernan spoke to Coach Gruden about the roster players up with NHL training camps while they were on TSN 1150’s new radio show Bulldogs This Week, and Gruden echoed similar sentiments to Camus’ characteristics. He said that players need to”…practice with a purpose…there is a reason why those [NHL] guys are where they’re at. They practice so hard, and they go about their business with a purpose”.
Saigeon has committed his offseason to self-improvement, his work ethic is evident to most onlookers. He looked very confident in the pre-season, and looks to put his history of slow starts behind him. “Andlauer and Staios have done an unbelievable job really raising the bar here in Hamilton. Moving forward we’re going to have a great team and I’m going to be a big part of it.” Expect Saigeon to be an early bounce back candidate that can re-establish himself as a legitimate NHL prospect going forward with the opportunity to be a re-entry draft pick int the 2017 NHL Draft.
Feature Image: John Rennison / The Hamilton Spectator